A ministerial decree relaxing restrictions around industrial hemp that took effect earlier this month in Thailand sets the playing field for at least a couple of well-connected first movers.
State tobacco giant Thailand Tobacco Monopoly (TTM) announced a year ago it had approval for a commercial hemp-growing initiative in the northern and eastern provinces of Chiang Mai, Chaing Rai, Nan, Tak and Petchabun. TTM has said it will provide hemp seeds to Thai farmers beginning this year with a goal to attract traditional tobacco growers to the crop after trials are completed.
Meanwhile, U.S. firm Titan Hemp announced last summer a deal with the Thai government for exclusive global rights to “market, sell and distribute all hemp originating in Thailand,” and “manage all farming and exports of the nation’s commercial industrial hemp.”
Titan will work for the government program through a partnership with True Hmong Global and the Highland Research and Development Institute (HRDI), an economic development agency of the Thai government that focuses on sustainability and environmental protection. HRDI has responsibility to build up Thailand’s industrial hemp farming and manufacturing infrastructure.
1 million acres; 3 crops per year
Titan Hemp, which has said it wants to develop applications in hemp plastic composites and hemp-based graphene, projects it can expand hemp fields to more than one million acres over the next five years through its 4,000 contract farmers.
Thailand’s tropical climate, and its specific hemp phenotype make for a short growing season in which three crops can be harvested per year. Hemp farming will also lead to higher yields for farmers, stakeholders suggest.